In Trapped, the new pillar of Nordic Noir available on SBS On Demand, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson sets hearts aflutter. As the hirsute, heavyset police chief Andri Ólafsson on the case of a mysterious murder, the show’s creator, Baltasar Kormákur has described Ólafsson as “something of a Gérard Depardieu figure in Iceland. Women here swoon over him, believe it or not.”
And he is far from alone when it comes to unexpected appeal. Here, in no particular order is our top ten of TV’s most unlikely heart-throbbing leading men.
Dean Strang and Jerome ‘Jerry’ Buting: Making a Murderer
Google ‘unlikely TV heartthrobs’ and you’ll see a flood of results featuring the dual phenomenon that is the justice-seeking lawyers of Netflix’s zeitgeist-gripping true crime documentary series Making a Murderer. They may look like your average dowdy dads but their valiant defence of alleged murderer Steven Avery has made them swoon-worthy and meme-worthy.
Benedict Samuel: The Beautiful Lie
As longhaired lothario Skeet Du Pont in this modern reinvention of Anna Karenina, Samuel’s casting was intended to make hearts flutter, and it did. But his waifish visage and his character’s abject selfishness had some feeling more turned off than on, not to mention the name ‘Skeet’.
Steven Yuen: The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead’s Glenn Rhee (Yuen) started out as a relatively timid survivor of the zombie apocalypse but six seasons later, he’s an outright warrior. His heartthrob status is no doubt elevated as half of one of the show’s favourite couplings with heroine Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock Holmes
The actor with the elongated, atypical leading-man face who headlines this celebrated modern iteration of the famous literary detective, has earned his own brand of admirers, ‘Cumberbitches’.
Marten Holden Weiner: Mad Men
Early on in the series, chubby Weiner, son of Mad Men creator Mathew Weiner, played creepy child neighbour to the Drapers - Glen Bishop who had a disturbing crush on the much older Betty Draper (January Jones). By season seven, he’d become something of a teenage hottie who was still hot for Betty.
James Spader: Boston Legal
Spader, you’d be forgiven for thinking, had already had his heartthrob heyday in the Brat Packer 1980s era but enjoyed a resurgence - middle aged and hair receding - as charismatically quirky lawyer Alan Shore in 2000's dramedy Boston Legal.
Zach Galifianakis: Baskets
One of the unlikeliest of unlikely heartthrobs on the list, the irony is that this hirsute funnyman with dramatic tendencies gained swoon-worthy status only after he lost significant hair and girth and appeared in TV series Baskets.
Adam Driver: Girls
His Girls character Adam Sackler was once described by The New York Times as “ugly-handsome” and “so-awful.” Quite the backhanded compliment, but the show and the towering Driver’s unusual looks (and the fact he can act) have not only earned him heartthrob status but a thriving movie and modelling career.
Chris O’Dowd: The IT Crowd/Moone Boy
The mussed-coiffed and bearded Irishman O’Dowd started out in comedy IT Crowd but cemented his heartthrob status in hit Hollywood comedy Bridesmaids, with the actor receiving marriage proposals via Twitter on its release.
The entire series of Trapped is available on SBS On Demand. Watch the first episode right here: